I remember the moment I went from hating beer to loving it. I was in college, going through a particularly difficult year. Per usual, I was having roommate problems and was experiencing what was -- at that point in my life -- a long winter. After returning to New York from spring break spent in Los Angeles, I had a sudden hankering for beer. Frozen beer slushie, at that (which I still have not had, because that's so much work).
That semester, I ended up spending most of my days with a friend of mine who lived over in a residence hall nestled somewhere between Chinatown and Little Italy. I'd go over late at night on a weekday, or we'd spend weekends hanging out and having sleepovers. She didn't have a roommate, and it was awesome.
When I told her about my newly discovered want for beer, she wrangled up a couple of bottles and we drank. I remember it being such a fun time -- that semester in general, mostly defined by absolute craziness.
That was a really long way to tell you that I like beer. I like trying new beers, and I like finding out the story behind a specific company or brew. So, when I was in Eugene, my sister took me to the Ninkasi Tasting Room, which I've learned is considered one of Oregon's finest.
We went for the tasting tray, which is a darn steal at $7. We let the bartender choose our five, not being particularly familiar with Ninkasi or what they're known for. We were given: Sacramentale, Spring Reign, Total Domination, Rich's Brew, and Oatis.
Of the five, my favorite was Rich's Brew.
Sacramentale was really light and citrus-y, which was really nice. Spring Reign is an American Pale Ale and was too bitter for us. Total Domination is an IPA that lingered on the bitter side of Spring Reign, though not as intensely. Rich's Brew was kind of like Goldilocks finding her perfect bowl of porridge. It's a Belgian-style double IPA and it's all kinds of wonderful. Lastly, the Oatis is a dark oatmeal stout that tastes like chocolate and coffee. It wasn't bad, though isn't one that I'd choose again if I had other options.
Afterwards, we headed off towards a barbecue place to get our grub on. It's known as being one of the best spots in Eugene, so if you're ever in the area (and you're feeling particularly ravenous after a trip to Ninkasi), check out Papa's Soul Food.
I don't have any photos because the lighting was horrendous and my photos would've come out like blobs, so you can just imagine what it tasted like! Not bad. Not like Bogart's in St. Louis, but not bad. Worth checking out if the line isn't too crazy.
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